Covid-19: Using your hiring strategy to strengthen your business

Posted: 8 Sep 2020

Covid-19: Using your hiring strategy to strengthen your business

As companies struggle to cope with the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic, it is interesting to reflect on the hiring strategies that help some succeed where others fail, says Eolas Recruitment.

History provides some great examples of successful companies that emerged stronger than before from a downturn. Their ability to adapt and innovate was crucial, says Eolas Recruitment Managing Director Vincent Flynn.

One of the best known stories is that of Procter & Gamble who famously leveraged advertising during the Great Depression to build their business. Kelloggs, too, saw their profits soar in that era while Disney, Microsoft, CNN and Apple can all trace their roots back to difficult times. More recent examples include Lego who emerged stronger from the 2008 economic downturn thanks to investment in new products and market expansion and Netflix who leveraged streaming to continue their growth.

Technology’s crucial role

In 2020, we have seen how technology can be the differentiator between winners and losers when it comes to helping businesses and society keep functioning in a crisis. Access to specialist IT skills is proving to be crucial for businesses that want to emerge stronger from the pandemic.

Says Vincent, “Remote working, online trading and contactless payments are to the fore as traditional businesses rush to get online. That is contributing to an increased IT workload as working practices have had to change rapidly. Project managers are in demand and companies are looking for digital workspace management support as more employees work from home. There is also growing interest in advanced technologies like robotic automation and artificial intelligence, which in turn creates demand for professionals with the necessary skills to manage teams made up of both humans and bots. Likewise, data analysts are in demand as businesses are trying to understand how the pandemic is impacting their bottom line and identify scope to create efficiencies and enhance performance. So, on the one hand there are great opportunities for candidates, but there are also opportunities for employers because of the impact of the pandemic across all sectors of the economy over the last few months.”

Hiring strategies in a downturn

For employers, one advantage of a downturn is that it increases the pool of available talent. In the current climate, what this means is that now is a good time to hire scarce IT skills. Former employees who left your company before the pandemic may be interested in returning while.skilled employees in other organisations whose responsibilities have increased since the outbreak of the pandemic may be more open to moving jobs than they would have been heretofore.

If you are seeking to hire IT workers, you can take advantage of these market trends to strengthen your team by working with a specialist IT recruiter. Whether you are looking for core skills and/or hybrid skills that can be deployed across different functions, now is the time to build in resilience so that you are ready to embrace new opportunities. Speed and flexibility will play an important role in helping your business emerge stronger than before from the pandemic.

What if you need help to find IT skills?

For many businesses, the problem is that they don’t have in-house resources in areas like e-commerce or security. Companies who are going online for the first time can find it difficult to know how to source the right expertise.

Says Vincent, “Obviously, this is an area where Eolas Recruitment can help employers—not just when it comes to hiring permanent IT workers, but also interim employees and IT contractors. We will identify, screen and select suitable candidates. Our team has extensive contacts and knowledge of the IT sector and we know what other employers are offering, so we can really add value to your hiring strategy.

“The pandemic is definitely an incentive when it comes to including IT contractors in your plan. During periods of rapid change, having a contingent workforce is attractive because of the additional capacity and specialist skills contractors can deliver. Another advantage of hiring contractors is that they know how to hit the ground running which is crucial when businesses are adapting rapidly in a fast-changing environment. Employers are definitely seeing that the flexibility contractors provide is a good way to improve resilience. That is really important, because resilient companies are the ones that are most likely to emerge stronger from the pandemic.”

Emerging stronger from recession

Of course, lessons learned from previous downturns are also helpful when thinking about your strategy for the coming months. Research suggests that positioning a business to emerge stronger from a downturn requires a blend of defensive and opportunistic moves. Ten years ago, the Harvard Business Review discussed this in an article, Roaring out of Recession. The authors, Ranjay Gulati, Nitin Nohria and Franz Wohlgezogen, whose research found that only 9% of companies flourish after a downturn, explain that companies who combine defensive and offensive moves like cutting costs and investing in marketing, R&D and new assets, stand the best chance of outperforming other businesses.

We believe that technology will continue to be a key driver of change as businesses find their way through the current pandemic. So, if you would like to discuss opportunities to strengthen your IT resources and/or find out more about how Eolas Recruitment works with employers why not check out our client testimonials and candidate reviews or contact us to arrange a chat!

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